Thursday, February 16, 2006

Loving Lana

Certain actresses blow you away with their talent, some entrance you with their charm; and there are others you love, well, because. For years the Siren has maintained the softest of soft spots for the lady above. Where, may the Siren ask, is the revisionist Blog-A-Thon for Lana Turner? After all, when she died she merited a heartfelt tribute in the New Yorker by no less a literary light than John Updike. February 8 was Lana Turner's birthday, and the Siren is very sorry to have missed it. The fun folks at have an entry up on By Love Possessed that is, as usual, a hoot (though it seems to have been edited a bit oddly). The Siren's favorite Lana moment, however, will always be that walk down the stairs at the end of Ziegfeld Girl. You can quibble all you want with other aspects of Lana's acting, but when it came to walking, she was second to none. For absolutely everything you could possibly want to know about Lana, check out Lana Turner Online.

(Top, Lana pushes a broom with aplomb in The Postman Always Rings Twice. Bottom, Lana's climactic moment from Ziegfeld Girl, courtesy of The Lou Valentino Collection.


Peter Nellhaus said...

I second the motion for a Lana Turner blog-a-thon. By the way, do you think daughter Cheryl Crane to the fall for mom?

Exiled in NJ said...

And this is what I wrote in a newsletter on another site in 2003 regarding 'Postman.'

"There is one other critical difference between the two film versions. It is not Cora Papadakis/Smith who steps out of the living quarters of the restaurant on that afternoon in 1946 when Chambers arrives, but Lana Turner. There she stands in white, in a halter-top purposely wider at the shoulders than at her narrow waist, and with a V-neck collar sharp enough to cut meat. Her pale blonde hair gives a halo effect around her head. She stares at Chambers, almost daring him to speak. Jessica Lange???? Come on! For the record, Cain thought Turner, not the brightest of actresses, excellent."

I am glad to find another admirer.

surly hack said...

Turner is, as they used to say, a dreamboat. She is one of those actresses that the camera loves, and this has nothing whatsoever to do with Stanislavsky.

I brought up DRAMATIC SCHOLL (38) in the Luise Ranier post. It features a very young Lana looking gorgeous, as always.

The Siren said...

Peter: I think a Lana fest would rock. For all that people mock her (I am reading Kael's "Deepr into Movies" and she just insulted an actress by comparing her to "mid-period Lana Turner") she was in some very good movies. As for Cheryl--no, I don't think she took the fall for Mom. She loved her mother, and when she wrote her tell-all book she was very kind to Lana. But I think Cheryl had a pretty clear view of her mom's shortcomings and has been honest about them. I think she would have come clean a long time ago if there were really truth to that story. That's just my take.

Exiled: What a great description. She spends that whole movie in white, and it's very effective. What Lange's performance gained in realism it definitely lost in allure. One look at Turner and Garfield's motivations are crystal-clear for the rest of the movie.

Surly: I remember the Dramatic School note! did you look at the link to Lana's autobiography? She talked about filming the movie and Rainer not getting along with the director. I would love to see it. In the late 30s and early 40s Lana was so beautiful it almost hurt to look at her.

goatdog said...

My favorite Lana moment is in Postman when Garfield kisses her for the first time and she ignores him. She just checks her lipstick and walks out without a word. Oh la Lana!

Gloria said...

Lana Down The Stairs at the end of Zigfield Girl is just great... such a way to go!

Apart from that, one can't help falling for her character in that movie... she's the victim of James Stewart, here playing an utter jerk who can't take that her girl is earning a salary of her own, and is bitter as she happens to get more money than he (to the point that he concludes that becoming a racketeer is a legitimate move to catch up with her)

The Siren said...

I thought his character was a schmuck too, one of the least sympathetic guys he ever played.


It is probably just as well that Lana dies since otherwise she might have married him.

Gloria said...

Gee... I just love happy endings! :D

surly hack said...

Siren, get a friend to tape these for you. Early Lana Turner coming up on TCM:

March, 9 Thursday:

9:30 AM These Glamour Girls (1939)
A drunken college boy invites a taxi dancer to spend the weekend at his snobbish school. Cast: Lew Ayres, Lana Turner, Tom Brown. Dir: S. Sylvan Simon. BW-79 mins

11:00 AM Dancing Co-Ed (1939)
A college girl fights to survive in academia and show business. Cast: Lana Turner, Richard Carlson, Artie Shaw. Dir: S. Sylvan Simon. BW-84 mins

Caitlin Shortell said...

These photos do her justice, unlike those in Architectural Digest's spread about movie star homes and movie set homes. Thanks for the homage.